Beneath the Surface, Root Vegetables

Carrots, parsnips, radishes, fingerlings, beets, horseradish, turnips, and yams might might not look like much above ground, but there are some really beautiful varieties out there. These roots give us a new perspective about what’s happening beneath the soil. I love to peruse the seed catalogues and select root vegetable seeds I might never find in the store.

Roots, both the heritage kind and the herbaceous kind, are foundations. Whether they be good genes or a yummy potato recipe, roots are grounding and centering.


They grow deeper and more complex as we give them the proper care from the surface. This is the time of year when the die hards prep their beds for the early roots for soups and grilling. Before the fair weather folks get to tomatoes and cucumbers, the roots go in.

I remember turning my nose up at such wicked garden behavior until I tasted my first home grown carrot. Pure sweetness and so worth the challenge. The worth is also in the oomph it takes to trek into the yard while all the grayness and cold test your desire to stay cozy.

If you've been thinking about trying your hand at gardening vegetables remember that to go from fair weather to fairly committed is part of the lunatic fun.

And roots, though we cannot see them, we trust from what we see in the greenery above the surface that all is well after they start sending up little sprigs of hope before the trees have bloomed.

Here are a couple tips you may not know about growing and consuming root vegetables:

1. When harvesting beets, the youngest and smallest of the crop are the most packed with flavor. Their leaves can also be tossed into a salad or cooked down in a soup.

2. When growing carrots, don't fret when the frost comes. A few frosts can make your carrots quite tasty. They are even a healthy and tasty treat for those of you with pups!

3. Roots like to be rated as a family - try roasting turnips, parsnips, and carrots together for a colorful side. No need to consult Pinterest, just dive in and let your senses be your guide. Include garlic and your favorite herbs!

If you have not explored the world of veggies and edible roots quite yet, I would highly recommend considering a space in your garden for them. Home grown is something you must try at least once, and there are even ways to do this in limited spaces. Did you know you can grow potatoes in a box? And here’s an extra tip: don't try growing them under a walnut tree.

Happy Pre-Spring!